Chicken pox is a virus that many children catch when they are young. Most children develop a fever and itchy red bumps on their skin from the chicken pox. They get over the illness in about two weeks. However, if a child with SCID catches chicken pox, it can be fatal.
A vaccine against chicken pox does exist. If brothers and sisters, or any other children who live in the home, have been vaccinated for chicken pox, then there is no need to take special steps beyond the suggested reduced germ steps.
If siblings have not been vaccinated against chicken pox, review the following important points when considering chicken pox exposure as related to a child with SCID.
- Tell the school where brothers and sisters attend about the child with SCID. Ask school officials to call parents of the child with SCID if there is a chicken pox outbreak.
- If siblings sat at the same reading table, ate with, or played with other children who have broken out in chicken pox, then siblings should reside with other relatives or friends for 11 to 14 days, the length of time it takes to develop the chicken pox once exposed to the germ.
- If siblings break out with chicken pox at home and expose a child with SCID to chicken pox, immediately call your doctor so proper treatment can be started to prevent a chicken pox infection.
- If the child with SCID contracts chicken pox, the child will be put in the hospital and be given medicine to kill the chicken pox virus.
Siblings of the child with SCID should avoid receiving the chicken pox vaccine before the child is treated through transplant or gene therapy. The vaccine could potentially expose the newborn to the virus through the siblings.